Bollinger Shipyard and Dr. Jimmy Peltier were honored as the 2013 Bayou Industrial Group BIG Achievers at the organization’s annual membership banquet Thursday.
“I am humbled and proud to represent this quality organization,” Peltier said. “When we have our monthly meetings, I was getting paranoid with being one of only six people at a meeting not to be introduced. With this award, the paranoia (of not being recognized) is gone.”
Peltier was presented his award by last year’s BIG Individual Achiever Jake Giardina.
“This year’s BIG Individual winner exemplifies the BIG mission,” Giardina said. “In doing research on Dr. Peltier, his list of civic and professional organizations took up six type-written pages.”
Peltier, a native of Thibodaux and retired oral surgeon, is also a retired U.S. Air force veteran. Peltier served as head of St. Joseph Hospital in Thibodaux, now Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, and assistant professor at Louisiana State University’s dental school. He is the only person to ever head the LSU Board of Supervisors, the LSU Alumni Association and LSU Foundation, and he was inducted into the LSU Hall of Distinction in 1995. A 10-year member of BIG, Peltier is also a volunteer with Restore or Retreat and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lafourche.
“To put it simply, he has contributed greatly,” Giardina said. “He has a great care for community and community organizations and has worked to advance education and healthcare.”
Charlotte Bollinger accepted the BIG Company Achiever award on behalf of Bollinger Shipyard.
“We are honored to accept this award,” Bollinger said. “The four members of our board of directors meet regularly with groups of our employees. Quality, cost, environmental control and ethics are important to us. For the last 28 years, we have built every U.S. Coast Guard cutter. Our current cutter contract is about halfway through, and, when it is over, $1.4 billion in business will have coming through parish. We are proud to bring business to this area, and we love BIG.”
The family owned and operated company, headquartered in Lafourche Parish, employs more than 2,200 people in Louisiana and Texas and supports several causes including Restore or Retreat, the Nicholls State University Foundation, the Fourchon Oilman’s Association and the United Way.
“They have adapted and succeeded,” said John Rogers, who accepted last year’s BIG Company Achiever award on behalf of Coastal Commerce Bank and presented this year’s award to Bollinger Shipyard.
In addition to honoring those who uphold the group’s mission to support coastal restoration and protection, infrastructure, education, economic development, and community development, the evening’s festivities also included the swearing-in of the group’s 2013 president.
“The year went by fast,” said Francis Richard, 2012 BIG president, as he gave his final message to the group and prepared to introduce his predecessor. “In 2012 we worked to make our mission statement shorter and more concise. BIG works to inform, strengthen and support businesses and the community.”
In 2012, BIG added 18 new members to its ranks and worked to strengthen monthly meeting programs by bringing in guest speakers like Jerome Zeringue with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Boysie Bollinger with Bollinger Shipyard and Sen. Mary Landrieu.
“We also learned more about education and Louisiana’s role in the world’s food supply and healthcare,” Richard said. “Our guest speakers met and exceeded expectations according to surveys we sent out after (each meeting).”
The group also met its goal of supporting local education by funding eight scholarships to Nicholls, Fletcher Technical Community College and the South Central Technical Community College.
“I have no doubt that our new president will work hard to uphold our mission in 2013,” he said. “Please welcome our new president Jimmy Ledet of T. Baker Smith.”
“Now is an exciting time for BIG,” said Ledet, 2013 BIG president. “I am honored to lead BIG, and I commit to do all that I can for BIG to grow and prosper. It’s humbling to stand here with so many past presidents present. During last year’s planning session, we came up with an even clearer mission and I will continue to implement and guide that mission and communicate with you during the upcoming legislative session.”
“I want to see us continue to grow our contributions to education and continue our scholarship program,” he continued. “This is one of our most popular contributions to our valued community, and we are helping to educate our future workforce.”
Other new board members installed were Raylan Alleman with Raylan Alleman CPA; Denny Borne with Bollinger Shipyard; Dwayne Bourgeois with the North Lafourche Levee District; Hugh Caffery with Valentine Chemical; Howell Chiasson, vice president, with the Nicholls State University Athletic Department; Monique Crochet with the NSU Alumni Federation, Steve Gaubert, treasurer, with Thibodaux Regional Medical Center; Shane Guin with the Duplantis Design Group, Ricky Melancon, executive vice president, with Houma-Thibodaux Spine and Rehab and Raymond Richard with MidSouth Bank.
Keynote speaker Congressman Bill Cassidy, M.D., gave the crowd a head’s up on which issues to watch during the upcoming legislative session.
“I could spend the next 15 minutes talking about how much I learned from people in this audience, but I will instead let you know why every other state in the county is concerned with the economy and why we are more concerned with coastal restoration,” Cassidy said. “This state provides jobs for people who graduated high school and may or may not have gone on to technical school. We provided a living for people. We do that here, and we have lessons to teach the country.”
Cassidy, a physician and an advocate for providing healthcare for the uninsured, said that the state’s abundance of natural resources will provide job opportunities for generations to come, and, to secure those future jobs, the state must work to protect harbors and inland waterways.
“Washington is looking for money to fix debt and the deficit,” Cassidy said. “There is a $6.2 billion surplus from the Ramp Act, and this act says that federal ports must be maintained by the federal governments. We are spending our children’s future to maintain something now. The Wave Act would set up a user fee to provide for better inland navigation, and funds from the Restore Act and the Clean Water can also be used to help our waterways and coast.”
“We must fight for our harbors and inland waterways and the coast,” he said. “This is our home. If we are not optimistic, who will be?”